Greetings from the Land of Enchantment: Laziness

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


I'm reading Pema Chodron's The Places that Scare You. I began it years ago and never got through two years later I've picked up where I left off. I find that when I'm in a tough spot, it's always good to go back to basic principles. The Boddhisattva practices are very aligned with the Warrior Saint archetype in Sikhism, but there's so much more literature on boddhichitta than Sikhism--that's readable anyway--that I turn to these pragmatic practices of Buddhist philosophy.

This morning I was reading the chapter called Three Kinds of Laziness. It was interesting to read these qualities of laziness--avoids discomfort, loss of heart, and I-don't-care attitude--as understood and delineated by the buddha. Because when I was a kid, my grandmother constantly called me lazy. I was always a bit hurt and confused--and in a way identified with it as true about myself. I accepted it, but took no action to change the way she saw me. Upon reading this chapter I understood for the first time what she saw in me when she called me lazy.

First let me say who she was. Here is a woman who traveled in the back of a truck with her 13 siblings after they lost their farm during the Great Dust Bowl. She grew up as a migrant farm worker from S. Texas to Colorado, following the crops. At 18 she met my grandfather, a dry-farmer who grew cotton in West Texas. The following summer she came to work and stayed to marry him and raise a family.

So this woman looked at me--a child who had been given everything as 'lazy'. I avoided discomfort, I had a tremendous loss of heart as a child, and as I entered my teen years that loss of heart became a growing cold depression, a case of the 'I-don't-care'. It was very clarifying to read and examine these qualities of laziness and understand what she saw. Who knew--all this time--that my grandmother was a Boddhisattva, a Warrior Saint? (smile)

Blessings to you grandmother
You are still with me, in every breath
as I remember your words
and continue to be challenged
by your character and your caliber
May this woman, this descendant of yours
no longer be lazy
but always be awakened to the nature
of my mind
and may I always challenge myself
to make constant effort
to manifest my highest Self
so that I can serve and benefit
all living beings everywhere



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